Visit Pandit Birju Maharaj's home, a visual tale of Lucknow's timeless Kathak legacy!
In the lanes of Aminabad, Lucknow, stands the ancestral home of the late Pandit Birju Maharaj, the revered Kathak maestro. This unique dwelling now stands as a Kathak Museum, a living testament to the birth of Lucknow's renowned Kathak Gharana.
Situated in the historic Kalka-Bindadin ki Dyodhi on Gwynne Road, this museum carries a profound history as the former abode for generations of Kathak luminaries in UP.
Lucknow's Kathak Gharana, nurtured by luminaries like Pandit Birju Maharaj, weaves a tale of rhythmic elegance and cultural legacy. Pandit Kalika Prasad and Pandit Bindadin Maharaj, classical virtuosos of the first generation, were instrumental in establishing the Lucknow's Kathak Gharana.
Their exceptional Kathak skills captured the discerning eye of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh, who was himself a devoted patron of classical arts. Impressed by the unparalleled fame and masterful expertise exhibited by the brother duo, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah bestowed upon them the current Dyodhi (home) as a generous gift back in the 18th century.
A one-of-a-kind museum within Lucknow
Before 2016, the site stood as a dilapidated structure, a vision that became reality through the concerted efforts of the Union Ministry of Culture. This transformation fulfilled late Pandit Birju Maharaj's longstanding desire to witness the place evolve into a public space, beautifully encapsulating the history of Lucknow Gharana.
A well-preserved museum depicting the history of Lucknow's Kathak Gharana
In a timeless architectural style, the entrance opens into a courtyard featuring an intricate 3D mural portraying dancers, adorning the walls. Adjacent to this artistic spectacle lies an ancient well, a relic from the family's history.
The central hall takes center stage, adorned with a captivating display of iconic moments captured in pictures, showcasing legendary figures from the Gharana. Among them, Pandit Birju Maharaj, Girija Devi, Maharaj Thakur Prasad, and others grace the walls. The grandeur is further elevated with statues paying homage to revered personalities like Shambhu Maharaj, Lachchhu Maharaj, and Achchhan Maharaj.
Among the treasured artifacts on display is a shawl adorned with intricate gold kamdaani work—a gracious gift from Nawab Wajid Ali Shah to Kalka Maharaj and Pandit Bindadin, echoing a rich tapestry of cultural exchanges and historical significance.
At this museum you'll also get to see an antique camera that once belonged to Pandit Birju Maharaj, paired with the exquisite 'poshak' worn by Pandit Bindadin, weaving together moments of artistic legacy and sartorial elegance.
Additional hall highlights feature the family tree of the Lucknow Gharana, offering a glimpse into the dance luminaries of the family. Beyond static displays, the hall transforms into a dynamic narrative with LCD screens, narrating the comprehensive story of the gharana and its profound contributions, enriching the heritage of the state.
Spaces adorned with memorabilia from the Gharana
The establishment further unfolds into a rasoi, that showcases the preserved utensils used by the family. Adjacent is a puja sthal that was Pandit Birju Maharaj's sacred place of worship.
Venturing into the meticulously preserved bedroom, you'll spot noteworthy items such as a tall hookah, poshaks, and personal belongings of Pandit Birju Maharaj, offering a glimpse into the maestro's intimate world.
A must-visit place for art enthusiasts
Another room showcases Kalka Maharaj's ghungroos, accompanied by an array of musical instruments once played by the family's performers.
The establishment graciously opens its doors to the public with no entry fee, welcoming visitors daily from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM, except on Mondays. Moreover, experienced instructors offer free Kathak classes on Saturdays and Sundays from 2 PM to 4 PM.
Whether you hold a passion for the art form or are captivated by the profound history of Awadh, a visit to the esteemed Kalka Bindadin ki Dyodhi comes highly recommended.
Where: Kalka-Bindadin ki Dyodi, Gwynne Road, Wazirganj, Lucknow